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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, September 05, 2003


In a Good Mood? Don't Read This.

posted by Trammell at Friday, September 05, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
I'll save my notes for the comments thread. From Chris Suellentrop's post-debate article in Slate:
Then, after peppering Dean with jabs, Lieberman rears back to throw the knockout punch: If Dean were elected president and carried out his promised trade policies, "The Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression." Later, to drive the point home, the Lieberman campaign circulates a press release entitled, "HOWARD DEAN'S PROTECTIONIST TRADE POLICY WOULD DEVASTATE AMERICA'S ECONOMY."

Dean counters by insisting that trade agreements need mere "international standards," not American standards, on labor and the environment. But that's not what he told the Washington Post (as the Lieberman campaign helpfully points out in its release) on Aug. 25. More important from my perspective, it's the exact opposite of what Dean told me when I rode with him in July on his campaign van in Iowa. When I asked Dean if he meant just general "standards" or "American standards," he insisted that he would demand that other countries adopt the exact same labor, environmental, health, and safety standards as the United States. But the audience wasn't riding with me, and they rally to Dean in his time of need, applauding wildly. Lieberman is left to lamely reply, "That's a reassuring change of position."

Dean makes another shocking flip flop in the debate. After repeatedly saying on previous occasions that the United States can't abandon its obligations in Iraq, he now implies that he wants to withdraw American troops from the region: "We need more troops. They're going to be foreign troops, not more American troops, as they should have been in the first place. Ours need to come home."

All the candidates support an increase in the number of foreign troops in Iraq, but Dean appears to have veered into Dennis Kucinich territory, something he had scrupulously avoided before. If Dean keeps this up, after flip flops on trade, Social Security, and foreign policy, he risks losing a considerable element of his Carter-esqe "I will never to lie to you" appeal. Dean was already having trouble reconciling his promise that he wanted to renegotiate NAFTA and other trade agreements with his insistence that the United States must trade with other countries in order to turn them into sedate, bourgeois societies. Fair on not, self-styled straight-talking candidates are held to a higher standard of honesty, and Dean's having trouble meeting it.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.